When you’re out shopping and deciding whether or not you should bring home a new item. How do you know it’s a winner and will earn a place in your wardrobe? Or is it just going to end up as clutter that fills up your precious space?
This is a really important step to take before purchasing – is to rate the item – as I say “Rate it an 8 or more” – as once we own something, we place a higher value on it, than when we don’t own it. This is why it can feel hard to let something go – even when we know we are not wearing it (and there are always good reasons why you’re not wearing an item that sits in your wardrobe week after week).
To help you make sure that you’re making the best decisions for your style, wardrobe and budget – here are questions to ask yourself before you buy.
1. Is it in my colour palette?
As much as it’s fun wearing colours that aren’t flattering, it usually doesn’t take long for colours that don’t flatter you to end up as fillers in your wardrobe, taking up space, not easy to mix and match with other garments. So why waste your money, space and time for a fleeting fancy – instead choose the colours that work together easily, the ones that make you look amazing, bright, vibrant, alive and healthy. If you don’t have a palette of colours that work for you – what are you waiting for? It’s part of my 7 Steps to Style program.
2. Does it fit?
Ok – let’s be frank and realistic. It’s super had to buy clothes that fit perfectly. You are a unique human, clothing manufacture is made to for as many bodies as possible to put the clothes on (not to make them look good!). So of course, you will find it hard to find clothes that are a perfect fit.
That said – does the garment fit well? And if not, can you and will you make the necessary alterations to make it fit well?
If not, leave it behind as it will never rate an 8 or more.
3. Does it flatter my body shape?
Fashions change all the time – as Heidi Klum says time on Project Runway “In fashion, one week you’re in and the next week you’re out”.
And shopping for clothes is like this – one week you’ll find something that flatters your shape, the next week the fashions will have changed and there is nothing that works for you. Don’t feel bad about this – remember in a few more weeks something else will appear.
But what I’ve found is that if it doesn’t flatter your body, you just won’t keep or wear it long. So if you want to play with a fashion trend that isn’t flattering for you – make it a cheap one that you’re happy to dispose of quickly.
Think about the clothes that have been in your wardrobe longest (and are worn the most) – what do they have in common? Most likely they are really flattering on. So why torture yourself with unflattering clothes? Make a decision that you want what works for your body shape, proportions, colouring and variations. This knowledge will empower you and save you a fortune over the years as you stop buying unflattering clothing. Not sure of your shape and want my professional opinion? That too comes as part of my 7 Steps to Style program. Or just take my free Body Shape Quiz here.
4. Does it fit my personality?
This is so key to being able to rate something an 8, 9 or 10/10 as without this key piece of the style puzzle, you’ll find that your choices are hit and miss.
There is a direct correlation between personality and style choices – you can discover your Style Essence (approach to style) with a 16 Style Types Report, and then learn how to turn that essence into style choices with 7 Steps to Style – where you delve deeply into how different personality traits are expressed through clothing, grooming and accessory choices.
Not sure if something fits your personality? Imagine a movie being made of your life. Would the character of you be wearing that outfit? If not – then you’re unlikely to be rating it an 8 or more!
5. Does it fit my lifestyle?
Another super important factor – your clothes must suit your lifestyle. One of the wardrobe issues I see most commonly when doing wardrobe audits is women owning wardrobes for a life they no longer lead or for an imaginary life that isn’t the one they are leading.
Your lifestyle, how you spend your time, what you do each day – what you want to wear that fits each occasion and activity are something only you can figure out. This is why I don’t believe there is any list of “every woman must own these garments” as how you spend your time is different from many others.
Don’t buy anything that you can’t wear immediately (season permitting) unless you are purposefully shopping for a special event. All other clothes should be something that you’d wear tomorrow!
6. Is it good quality?
When you’re 20, a wardrobe of clothes that are not made from the finest fabrics with the best construction is completely fine (these are what you may call “junk food clothes” ) as you are still in a stage of growing up and learning who you are. At the age of 40 you’re likely to be wanting to have a wardrobe of clothes that will last a few years and stand the test of time. This means better quality fabrics and good construction.
7. Is it current?
Is it current – yet not a fad about to be dated in the next 2 weeks, not something that has had its used-by-date a little while ago. Currency in fashion says that you are in-line with the times – aware of what is going on around you, and forward-thinking (particularly important in many workplaces these days).
So when choosing a new item – will it last the distance or is it going to be something you have to say goodbye to very soon?
8. Is it comfortable?
This is such an important question to make sure you say “yes” to before you buy. Ask yourself:
- Does it feel good on my body?
- Does it bind?
- Does anything irritate?
- Does the fabric feel good?
- Can I move in it in a way that works with my lifestyle?
If you answer no to any of the above questions, you’ll not be rating the garment an 8 or more!
9. Is it fabulous?
Does it make you feel like the best version of yourself? Does it fit your style recipe? Is it amazing?
I mean really, do you want to add “Ok” or “It’ll do” to your wardrobe? I think not! Leave it behind if it’s not fabulous.
10. Do you need it?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it fill a hole in your wardrobe or is it another version of something you already own?
- If it’s another version of something you already own – is it better than what you already have at home? Or is it going to be 2nd best?
- Will you wear it regularly? If not (special occasion wear only an exception), why not? Is it still worth it?
- Does it go with at least 3 other things you already own?
- Can you imagine some fabulous new outfits that you’ll be able to create with this new piece?
11. Is it in my price range?
And last, but certainly not least – can you afford it? Is it in your price range? Is it going to be a good investment and have great cost-per-wear?
Don’t go into debt over clothing that you can’t afford.
Shopping can be a dangerous sport, and there are many tricks retailers do to get you to buy.
By using these criteria to help you make a decision about whether or not what you’re thinking of purchasing is an 8 or more, they will help you to stop and think before you hand over your cash and then assist you in building a wardrobe of fabulous clothes that you love and make you look and feel amazing every single day.
Now isn’t that what you really want?
So why not put this list in your purse to help you next time you go shopping.
6 Brilliant Strategies to Creating the Perfect Wardrobe Part 1
6 Brilliant Strategies to Creating the Perfect Wardrobe Part 2
6 Brilliant Strategies for Creating Your Perfect Wardrobe Part 3
6 Brilliant Strategies for Creating Your Perfect Wardrobe – Finale
Linking up withVisible Monday, Style with a Smile, Not Dressed as Lamb, Shoe Nudge, Top of the World
Great post, Imogen!
As I read this post, all I could think of was of my last post called Zig Zag, where I wore a dress. I have to say that… it did not meet any of these !